October 25, 1995
Dave Huff called the other day and said members of the Kaw Street Chapel, located at 420 Kaw Street, had torn down the old Jersey Queen building adjacent to them, and in the process they had come across some interesting old newspapers. Would I care to see them? Does a squirrel store nuts for the winter?
The old papers were found in the hollow clay tiles used to construct the single-story masonry building some 70 years ago. Evidently the papers were intended to provide a bit of insulation. Unfortunately, time had not been good to them. It was virtually impossible to extract the papers from the tiles without pulling them into tiny, unreadable fragments. I pulled out a small portion of the Feb. 9, 1925, Oklahoma City Times. It contained a Gasoline Alley comic strip showing Skeezix as a pre-schooler and Uncle Walt to be stout but youthful-looking. Gasoline Alley is still one of the few strips in which people actually age according to real time.
Dave, one of the active and committed members of the Kaw Street Chapel, had better luck with a portion of the Perry Journal for Feb. 5, 1925. It is fairly intact and it does contain a few interesting nuggets. Among the advertisers were G. W. Clark real estate and insurance; Cliff Moore, independent piano tuner; L. P. Stumpff's marble and granite works; and H. E. St.Clair, attorney-at-law, located over Woodruff’s store on the north side of the square. The Corner Drug Store was advertising a photo finishing service.
One of the day's big news stories concerned the establishment of a broom factory in Marland, through the combined efforts of the Chamber of Commerce and the Miller brothers, operators of the 101 Ranch at Marland. The factory was expected to turn out five dozen brooms a day. A much briefer item reported that Lizzie Mayhew of Perry received a very bad dog bite at her home when she went out to separate two fighting dogs. One of them tore a very bad place in her hand. Dr. Coldiron was called and it was necessary to take four stitches to close the wound.
The Kaw Sheet Chapel is near the corner of Fourth and Kaw where the old U.S. 77 highway curves north past the new American Legion baseball park and Perry stadium. Greg Stone is lay pastor at the Chapel. A few years ago his members purchased their present property and thereby acquired some interesting real estate.
Part of it was the building on the corner facing the highway where several businesses have been located. The last was a video tape rental store, but a damaging fire brought that enterprise to a close about four years ago. Before that the single story masonry building had housed a Jersey Queen, and many people still tend to associate that name with the structure.
Going back even further in time, let's say to the early 1940s, it was the home of a popular recreational establishment known as Eve's Tavern, operated by Eve Stanislav. It was a place where you could buy a cold brew or a soda, munch on snacks, listen to current jukebox favorites, and even dance in a small space set aside for that purpose, or just sit at a table or booth and enjoy a convivial evening. We used to have several places like that, but Eve's Tavern was the favorite of many folks.
Eve herself, an attractive dark-haired lady, kept a pretty tight rein on activities there and officers of the local gendarmerie checked it out frequently, so the place was respectable except for an occasional Saturday night episode when a customer or two overindulged, as some were wont to do.
Still later, Forrest Severe bought the building and turned it into a restaurant. He had a successful business there for several years. The old dance floor area was converted to a dining hall large enough to accommodate 40-50 diners comfortably. The Perry Quarterback Club, among others, used to meet there. I also remember some Perry Daily Journal schools for community correspondents convened there for lunch and workshops. Forrest turned out good food and good service. I don't recall why he got out of the business.
It was nice of Dave to think of me when he came across the tiles with those yellowed old newspapers, and I appreciate the chance to check them out. Looking at them, and the rubble that now remains from Eve's Tavern, evoked .a lot of pleasant memories.
I understand the Kaw Street Chapel folks have no immediate definite plans for the corner, but if at some point another structure is raised there I hope they'll make provision for stashing copies of current newspapers in such a way that future generations can read them 70 years from now.